August 25, 2013.
The shortest redlining trail I have ever done, outside of the one tenth mile on Tecumseh I had to get back last year. While doing some touristy stuff with Lisa, Polar Caves and Lost River, I saw this short trail described on Lost River's site and saw it is on my spreadsheet to do. It is only a half mile long and not recommended for the average people. Blurb from their website:
The Dilly Cliff is a high cliff overlooking Lost River Gorge Reservation. This narrow ledge, which climbs a steep 700 feet, is just under a half mile hike. As signs at the base of the trail warn, this is not a footpath for the casual walker and should only be tackled by persons in good physical condition and with appropriate footwear. This trail is the definition of hand-over-foot hiking. Dilly Cliff Trail is recommended for experienced hikers only and access to the trail from the Lost River Gorge parking lots are available ONLY during business hours (police take notice).
Lisa waited in the car for me as I knew this was not a trail for her. Good thing as this was exactly as described, a straight up boulder hand and foot trail.
About two thirds of the way up and I come across a group of people, which really surprised me then again I shouldn't have been as there is no warning at the bottom, who shouldn't be up here. Two adult males and three kids under 9 years old in sneakers. Passing them and not long after I reach the spur trail over to the cliff.
All in all it's not a bad place but if not for Lost River I would never have come here. The only views are across the Kinsman Notch to the wooded summits of Mt Waternomee, Mt Jim and Mt Blue.
Hidden by all that is Mt Moosilauke. Down below is the Lost River complex.
Back to the trail and turning right to continue up to reach the junction with Kinsman Ridge Trail, a trail I'll be on next year when I do the AT. The trail from the cliff spur is much more level and an easy walk in the woods. I make it to a spot where it's not clear where to go. There are no more blazes beyond the spur trail so it is anyone's guess. There is a resemblance of a trail heading right so I go about twenty yards and it starts to descend to who knows where. Gut feeling is this is not the right way. Returning and about ten feet to the left is a definite looking trail.
For some ways it is a trail and then it peters out into a herd path and then moose droppings as I continue along. I'm not one to panic much so I just kept following my instincts figuring at some point I'll at least hit the Kinsman Ridge Trail. I finally spot a trail and turn left onto it and shortly up I make it to the junction.
Now time to return. I had thought about going down Kinsman Ridge Trail as I figured it could not be as steep and rocky as Dilly Trail. Reaching Route 112 it is a short walk down to Lost River, but I figured if anything did happen then Lisa would never know about that option. Besides I really hadn't completed the trail and wanted to see where and how I missed it. So back I go and pass the point where I came out the woods.
Continuing down and I reach the point where I made the left turn. I now could see why I did what I did. The trail actually goes straight through this area but is hidden by the landscape and who knows where the left and right trails came from. Maybe everyone does the same thing I did and been repeated many times over creating these partial trails. The hidden trail picture.
Basically I did a big semi-circle in those woods following that herd trail then path to make it back onto Dilly Trail. The rest of the trip down was uneventful and actually fun hopping from boulder to boulder with no pack or poles. Sometimes I like that freedom much like when we were kids roaming the woods in our backyard. On the way down I met that same group who had no business being up here in the same spot I passed them on the way up. I asked them if they at least made it to the cliff because I mentioned this was the same spot I passed them. They told me the kids stayed behind and they went up. To each their own I guess. For a trail that didn't have much to offer I did enjoy the bouldery mess and is probably one of the most challenging little trails I have come across.
The map showing the trails.
Final numbers: 1 mile, 1 hours and 10 minutes.
Redline Miles: 0.5, Total to Date: 392.2